Karnataka polls will be battle of communalism and secularism: Siddaramaiah

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Saturday said the upcoming Assembly polls in the state would be a battle between two ideologies - communalism and secularism. He also denied that there was an anti-incumbency factor for the Congress and said the party would retain power in the southern state by winning the polls with a "comfortable majority". Siddaramaiah was in the national capital to discuss the party's poll preparedness and strategy at a meeting called by Congress president Rahul Gandhi, which lasted for about three-and-a-half hours.

Gandhi is scheduled to launch the first leg of his party's poll campaign in Karnataka on February 10. The state is expected to go to the polls in March-April. "This (election) will not be a battle between me and (BS) Yeddyurappa. It will not be a contest between me and (Prime Minister) Narendra Modi. It will be a battle of two ideologies -- secularism and communalism," Siddaramaiah told reporters after the meeting.

Karnataka Congress president G Parameshwara, working presidents S R Patil and Dinesh Gundu Rao, the party's Karnataka in-charge K C Venugopal were also present at the meeting, besides senior leaders Mallikarjun Kharge, K Rahman Khan, K H Muniyappa, Oscar Fernandes and Veerappa Moily. This was the first meeting called by the Congress president in the Karnataka polls after last month's Gujarat Assembly election.

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